Wildcats put on a show at McKale Center
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)
A sellout crowd at McKale Center got a look at Arizona's newest crop of players and honored two of its past stars Saturday during the Wildcats' annual Red-Blue scrimmage.
''We're right where I thought we'd be,'' coach Sean Miller said. ''We have four freshmen. That's a third of our team learning college basketball. We have a number of players we're expecting more of.''
Before the game, former Wildcats Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger were inducted into the McKale Center Ring of Honor before a crowd of 14,601 that included numerous other Arizona greats, including former coach Lute Olson.
''It really puts in perspective all the guys who came through here and are playing in the NBA,'' forward Solomon Hill said. ''It's an amazing feeling, especially seeing Derrick. Not too long ago, he was with us. Now he's being honored.''
Arizona lost Williams to the NBA draft after reaching the regional finals last season, but coach Sean Miller brought in recruiting class of four highly touted freshmen.
Sidiki Johnson and Nick Johnson were impressive in their debuts, with Nick scoring 17 points for the Blue team.
''He's also a very hard worker,'' Miller said about Nick Johnson. ''Getting him to understand our defense and really help us on defense is something he can do. He's going to really be a big part of what we're doing.''
Though the annual scrimmage introduces the current team to the fans, much of the event was dedicated to the past.
Williams and Budinger were honored by getting their names up the arena rafters and the list of former standouts introduced to the cheering, standing crowd included Jordan Hill, Jerryd Bayless, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Jason Terry.
Olson and Williams, the No. 2 pick of this year's NBA draft, received some of the loudest cheers.
''It brought back a lot (of memories),'' Williams said. ''I was only here for two years, but it seems like yesterday.''
A blue banner reading, ''Arizona Basketball Never Stops'' was unfurled on the court, then the current team was unveiled before Miller thanked the crowd.
Nick Johnson won a dunk contest involving five players with a nifty, one-handed dunk, and Terry was honored for winning the 2011 NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks.
Highlights from the Wildcats' 2011 season were shown on the video scoreboard before the scrimmage. Arizona went 30-8, won a Pac-10 championship and reached the Elite Eight.
Kevin Parrom didn't play in the scrimmage, but participated in pregame workouts. the swingman was shot in the right knee and left hand during an incident last month in New York. The timeframe for his return is unclear.
Miller said Parrom has not been practicing with the team, but could be back as early as next month. Parrom will leave Sunday for his mother's funeral; she recently died of cancer.
''At one point, we talked about redshirting him,'' Miller said. ''That looks less and less likely because he continues to make weekly progress. He is going to miss some part of the season.''
Arizona plays exhibition games against Seattle Pacific on Thursday and against Humboldt State on Nov. 1 before opening the season on Nov. 7 in Tucson against Valparaiso.